The L.A. Times tells of a revolutionary idea that will save millions in welfare costs: Pay unemployed parents to take care of their own kids:
Supervisors suggest putting unemployed parents to work caring for their own children as part of proposed changes to CalWorks and other state government aid programs.
With steep state budget cuts under debate in Sacramento, Los Angeles County supervisors voted Tuesday to push for changes to CalWorks and other government aid programs they said would save nearly $270 million.
Included in their suggestions is a novel proposal: Put unemployed parents to work caring for their own children.
“What we’re saying is do not cut Welfare to Work outright: Target the cuts to the people who are the most expensive,” said Miguel Santana, a deputy to the county’s chief executive.
Parents now receiving assistance must attend job training and search for work. While they fulfill those requirements, they are eligible for subsidized child care, which typically costs the state about $500 a month per child in L.A. County.
The parents of children under age 1 may stay home and still receive benefits. Now, county officials propose expanding that to parents who have one child under age 2 or two children under age 6. Monthly job training and child-care costs for such parents often exceed their welfare check, Santana said.
In Los Angeles County, 8,000 households with more than one child under age 6 receive CalWorks-subsidized child care, according to the county’s department of social services. If adopted, county officials estimate the proposal — intended to counter Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s threat to eliminate CalWorks — could save the state $140 million this fiscal year.
Some parents who would be affected by the change had mixed feelings.
This might at least keep a parent or two at home, rather than forcing them off to work, leaving their children unraised.